Arthouse

LADY MACBETH

Director / William Oldroyd (Feature film debut)
Stars/ Florence Pugh, Paul Hilton, Cosmo Jarvis, Naomi Ackie and Christopher Fairbank

Make no mistake, LADY MACBETH bears no resemblance to any work associated to William Shakespeare. Based on the 1865 Russian novella, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District by Nikolai Leskov, the only reference from this film that could be made to the namesake character created by Shakespeare is of a purely symbolic nature.

Set in rural England in 1865, the film opens as 17 year old Katherine (Florence Pugh) is forced into marriage with the older Alexander (Paul Hilton). Katherine, who loves the outdoors, doesn’t so easily accept her husband’s wishes to be his subordinate, after he orders her to remain locked indoors at all times. When Alexander leaves his estate for several weeks to attend to a business emergency, the rebellious and free-spirited Katherine begins a dangerous affair with a young man working at the estate, Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis).

Courtesy of its remarkable and transformative lead female character, LADY MACBETH turns the period drama genre on its head in near flawless fashion.

Lady Katherine isn’t just the stand-out character in this sublime film, it is one of the most conceivably written, daring and exciting transitions of any character we’ve seen in recent years. Immediately upon moving into her new residence with her husband, Katherine recognises the misogynist she has married and the submissive life that she’s contractually obliged to fulfil. Rather than succumbing to her dreadful fate, Katherine fights back. Almost every command ordered at her is answered in return with wilful disobedience. Any expectations that existed prior to her arrival are now met with contemptuous disregard and are dead and buried. With each bout of resistance she sends forth, Katherine is brimming in confidence. Anyone who dares to throw a conventional line her way will become her bait! As delicious as this is to witness, audiences are very much aware that Katherine’s recklessness is going to have its consequences.

This is an outstanding feature-film directional debut from William Oldroyd, who has collected seven of the eleven award wins LADY MACBETH has so far received. He unearths a scintillating performance from his star, Florence Pugh (who has won the remaining four awards), in what truly is a breakout performance in every sense of the word. It is a display of acting that will not be forgotten in a film that produces fierce, fearless and electrifying drama. Make no mistake, LADY MACBETH is an unmissable film.

4 ½ stars



Viewer Discretion/ MA15+ (strong sex scenes and coarse language)

Trailer / LADY MACBETH

Moviedoc thanks Sharmill Films for the invite to the screening of this film..

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

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BERLIN SYNDROME

Director / Cate Shortland (LORE, SOMERSAULT)
Stars/ Teresa Palmer and Max Riemelt

The prestigious Australian film BERLIN SYNDROME casts an atmosphere of constant and escalating trepidation that is riveting to experience. Melbourne-born author Melanie Joosten, who was named as one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Novelists in 2012, visited Berlin herself as she backpacked through Europe at 22 years of age. This film is based on her debut novel that won the Kathleen Mitchell Award for Young Writers.

Teresa Palmer stars as Clare, a young Australian photographer who spends her first night of a backpacking expedition in the German capital. The intrepid and curious Clare, who is traveling alone, soon meets a handsome and charming local, Andi (Max Riemelt). He invites Clare back to his apartment and the two of them engage in a passionate night of romance. Shortly after Andi leaves for work, Clare discovers that she has been locked inside his apartment. And he has no intention of letting her go.


This is what many Australian films strive to be, but often fall short in their attempts. Steadily paced, yet never too drawn-out, BERLIN SYNDROME is a transfixing film that has the authenticity and compelling storytelling to match its powerful sensory presence.

Adapted for the screen by writer Shaun Grant (writer of JASPER JONES), BERLIN SYNDROME becomes unsettling yet utterly intriguing as the two lead characters engage in a battle of psychological warfare and welfare. A battle in which Andi may have a propensity for violence. He is a puzzling and complex character. A school teacher by day, Andi has a rather gentle facade and seems to possess a genuine kind of love for the imprisoned foreigner. As the script fascinatingly delves deeper into his personal life, it doesn’t neglect a helpless Clare who is becoming more aware that the longer she remains in his possession, the sooner an inevitable fate awaits.

Acclaimed filmmaker Cate Shortland, who was nominated for the dramatic world cinema Grand Jury Prize Award at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, is guaranteed to win several awards at home and around the world at upcoming festivals for this excellent film. Shot on location in Berlin before production moved to Melbourne, BERLIN SYNDROME is a stunningly photographed film that features a stand-out and spine-chilling score. Max Riemelt and HACKSAW RIDGE star Teresa Palmer give measured and magnificent performances in a film that Palmer has described her participation in as one of the most transformational experiences of her life as well as the most liberating film experience of her career. See it, and you’ll understand exactly why.

4 stars

Viewer Discretion/ MA15+ (strong themes, violence and sex scenes. Also contains nudity and some language.)

Trailer / BERLIN SYNDROME

Moviedoc thanks Entertainment One and The Backlot Studios for the invite to this film screening.

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

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PERSONAL SHOPPER

Writer & Director / Olivier Assayas (CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA, SUMMER HOURS)
Stars / Kristen Stewart, Lars Eidinger and Nora von Waldstätten

To most critics, the emergence of Kristen Stewart (THE TWILIGHT SAGA) as a star in far less mainstream movies has been somewhat of a revelation. Take Olivier Assayas’s previous film CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA as a prime example which co-starred Stewart, who won a number of worldwide film festival awards. Now fulfilling the lead role in PERSONAL SHOPPER, it certainly appears as though K-Stew’s emotionally reserved style has responded to a calling in both of Assayas’s films, which are quite restrained in their storytelling approach.

This Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or nominee which won Olivier Assayas the Best Director award follows Maureen Cartwright (Stewart), an American who is temporarily yet indefinitely living in Paris. A psychological drama/thriller that is part ghost story, PERSONAL SHOPPER is set in the fashion industry as Maureen relies on the income of a job she doesn’t fancy in order to pursue a personal matter that won’t disappear.

Until now, Kristen Stewart has been completely unconvincing and totally out of place in every film of hers I’ve seen since her TWILIGHT years. Of complete opposite opinion to most others, Stewart actually suited the character of Bella Swan and has truly struggled to break away from the habitual acting techniques (the shake of the head, that blinking, the stuttering) picked up playing that character. This companion piece to CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA does result in Stewart being as far removed from that style as she’s been, in a brave role that results in her best and most convincing work to date.

The film itself, which stars four of the same actors from its companion piece, drew mixed audience reactions from passionate critics after its screening at Cannes. It is easy to understand why. PERSONAL SHOPPER indeed does have its spellbinding moments and sporadically registers deep intrigue. However, a plot which consists of separate stories that each have their turn to become the focal point as they gradually reveal the layers underneath, lack significance and are too delayed in their development. A section in the middle of the picture that features the exchanging of mildly threatening text messages from an unknown source is the epitome of just that. Then, when a couple of plot holes surface, PERSONAL SHOPPER loses its ability to sustain genuine regard. As was the case in CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA, Olivier Assayas lets a promising premise slowly evaporate. The end result is another underwhelming movie.

2 ½ stars


Viewer Discretion/ MA15+ (Strong scene of blood detail. Also contains language, sexuality and nudity.)

Trailer / PERSONAL SHOPPER

Moviedoc thanks Rialto Distribution, Annette Smith and The Backlot Studios for the invite to this film screening.

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

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LA DANSEUSE (THE DANCER)

Director / Stéphanie Di Giusto (Feature Film Debut)
Stars / Soko, Gaspard Ulliel, Mélanie Thierry and Lily-Rose Depp

A pioneer of performance arts who improvised her own dance technique. The golden girl of the iconic Folies Bergère during the height of its popularity. The revolutionary dancer who gained the respect and friendship of several French artists.

These are some important glimpses of the life and professional career of American-born dancer, Loïe Fuller (Soko) that are covered in the English & French spoken drama, LA DANSEUSE (THE DANCER).

Based on the novel “Loïe Fuller, Danseuse de la Belle Epoque” by Giovanni Lister, THE DANCER chronicles Loïe’s path to discovering and developing her true calling, and the relationships that had a significant impact throughout her life at the turn of the 20th Century.

One purely breathtaking performance and a most captivating collection of the struggles and the strides in Loïe’s steps to stardom compensate for what is an overall incomplete and uneven biographical film that is only sporadically spellbinding. 
 
LA DANSEUSE picks up Loïe’s journey from the not so ripe age of 25, where she is residing in America. Perhaps this is also the case in Giovanni Lister’s book as it would explain why such interesting facts to have occurred in Loïe’s life prior to this age, and a great deal more until her death in 1928, are swept aside here. Should you choose to watch this, a read-up on Loïe’s life is highly recommended after the film. Thankfully and importantly though, witnessing the evolution of Loïe’s incredible talent, the suffering she willingly succumbs to it and the ever-growing vision & innovation she gallantly possesses are afforded the unrestrained attention that they deserve.
 

Some relationships to Loïe, as depicted here, matter more than others. A particularly significant one is somewhat truncated in its development. A shame, for it’s the best work to date from Johnny Depp & Vanessa Paradis’s real-life daughter, Lily-Rose Depp. And a seemingly (or surely) fabricated relationship in Loïe’s life, a character played by Gaspard Ulliel, is a sheer waste of space. Ironing out any character creases though is the star-making, spectacular lead performance from Soko, worth the price of admission alone for admirers of high quality acting.

3 stars

 

Viewer Discretion/ M (mature themes, sex and nudity)

Trailer / LA DANSEUSE (THE DANCER)

Tickets & Information for the French Film Festival/ FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL

Moviedoc thanks Annette Smith and Palace Cinema Como for the invite to this event and film screening.

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

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2016 – The Best Films, The Worst and More ! !

 Hello everyone

Firstly, a huge thank you for every review you have read, liked, shared, commented on and even chatted to me about in person. Thanks to you and your incredible support, I had the most productive and enjoyable year of film watching and reviewing yet! 

In total, I got to see & review 126 films released in 2016 alone! Of these, more than 30 received a 4 out of 5 rating from me, the most in any year since I first started reviewing! As such, I have compiled a ‘Top 30’ list this year and ‘Bottom 5’ only.

I hope you thoroughly enjoy reading my thoughts and verdict below. I also hope you take away a handful of films to see that you’ve never previously heard of or watched!
As always, please get in touch to share your views and best & worst movies. I look forward to your continued support and interaction in what will be an even bigger and busier year of film watching & reviewing in 2017!

Moviedoc 🙂

Moviedoc’s Top 30 Movies of 2016

30

VICTORIA
(4 out of 5)

The star attraction of this German suspense/drama is its cinematography – VICTORIA is shot as one single continuous take. It’s a stunning feature of this arthouse film that continually impresses, especially when you consider the key events executed throughout. The titular character, a young Spanish woman in Berlin, meets a German man and his friends at a club. As the night out progresses and Victoria leaves the club with the men, she learns of some dangerous secrets. Watch VICTORIA and experience real-time suspense unlike any others. Unpredictable and hugely tense!

Sorry, Moviedoc did not write a review of this film 😦

29

ME BEFORE YOU 
(4 out of 5)

It may not be Moviedoc’s number one romantic drama of the year, but ME BEFORE YOU is easily the best “crying movie” of 2016. Some of its themes caused an unnecessary revolt during its cinematic run here in Melbourne. But this surprisingly quality romantic drama will be remembered for being heartbreaking on so many levels. Stars GOT’s Emilia Clarke too guys, just sayin’ 😉

Full Review – ME BEFORE YOU

28

HELL OR HIGH WATER
(4 out of 5)

In many film critics top 5, HELL OR HIGH WATER is a gritty and absorbing crime drama about two brothers who turn to crime in order to pay off a debt and the Texas ranger hunting them down, who is due for his retirement. Has depth, genuine tension and the best performance we’ve seen from Jeff Bridges since 2010’s TRUE GRIT. 

Full Review – HELL OR HIGH WATER


27

JULIETA 
(4 out of 5)

As mainstream as a Pedro Almódovar film gets. This Spanish drama, like any Almódovar film, features a layered story with full-bodied, richly-drawn characters. It is about how a chance encounter triggers a broken-hearted woman’s search for answers. An important lesson is unearthed during its excellent finale.

Sorry, Moviedoc did not write a review of this film 😦

26

KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS
(4 out of 5)

You wouldn’t pick it by the poster, but KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS is an American production. The best animated film of 2016 has a very accessible plot for kids – a young boy named Kubo who must find a magical suit of armour to fight an evil spirit from the past – and exceptionally creative, dazzling animation that is guaranteed to immerse adults into the story. 

Sorry, Moviedoc did not write a review of this film 😦

25

THE REVENANT
(4 out of 5)

A forgotten film of 2016, it seems. But how could anyone forget the movie that finally saw gold statuette in hand of Leonardo DiCaprio? What the poor guy has to go through in order to win his first Oscar brings out the most uncompromisingly tough performance we’ve seen from the star. The film is pretty darn good too! Brutal and slow-moving, yet an utterly engrossing and remarkable story of vengeance. The Academy Award winning cinematography is outstanding too.

Sorry, Moviedoc did not write a review of this film 😦


24

HAIL, CAESAR! 
(4 out of 5)

This Coen-brothers film is an intelligent and original comedy that will especially appeal to fans of Wes Anderson. Set during the 1950’s at a Hollywood film production, a “fixer” addresses several complications and conundrums both on-set and in his personal life. Great cast and great fun! 

Full Review – HAIL, CAESAR


23

Microbe & Gasoline 
(4 out of 5)

One of the rare gems of 2016, and I bet you’ve never heard of it! This French feel-good comedy has an irresistible sense of adventure and is about two teenage guys who build a makeshift motorhome and take-off, fleeing their mundane and depressing suburban lives. An affectionate, heart-warming and crowd-pleasing journey not to be missed! 

Film Review – MICROBE & GASOLINE

22

ZERO DAYS 
(4 out of 5)

This documentary will easily be the most misjudged film of the year. What ostensibly begins as a film merely documenting a malicious computer superbug emphatically ends as one powerful cautionary tale. A film you would think has nothing to do with you, then by the end, has everything to do with you. ZERO DAYS is an awakening from master director Alex Gibney (GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF). 

Full Review – ZERO DAYS

21

BROOKLYN 
(4 out of 5)

This is an Oscar-nominated tale about an Irish immigrant that finds love in New York, then is left with a tough decision to make when her past catches up with her. A romantic drama told with real warmth and beauty led by a confident performance from its A-grade star, Saoirse Ronan. 

Sorry, Moviedoc did not write a review of this film 😦

20

LA LA LAND
(4 out of 5)

Unlike so many others, LA LA LAND is not my best film of 2016. That does not mean it is a let down by any means either. This music-driven film released on Boxing Day throughout Australia is packed full of effortless and endless creativity & striking originality that is utterly delightful to be in the presence of. Go and enjoy Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling play lovers for a third time in a feature film! (Hook up in real-life already!)

Full Review – LA LA LAND

19

ELLE
(4 out of 5)


My personal runner-up for best foreign language film of 2016 is an utterly engrossing film consisting of several separate sub-plots, all of which are connected to the lead character of ELLE, Michèle (a brave performance in a demanding role from Isabelle Huppert) who hunts for a man who has physically assaulted her. Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven’s French language erotic drama/thriller is an unmissable film for viewers who appreciate a psychologically complex work of profound characterisation and layered storytelling.

Sorry, Moviedoc did not write a review of this film 😦

18

THE HATEFUL EIGHT 
(4 out of 5)

Like THE REVENANT, THE HATEFUL EIGHT feels forgotten about. Bound to test the patience of even the most ardent Tarantino fans, this ultra-violent Western flick earns its place well inside my Top 30, courtesy of a near-faultless screenplay as we experience the masterful work of our famed director unwrapping the layers of tension and mystery, one layer at a time, in a magnificently methodical and meticulous manner.

Full Review – THE HATEFUL EIGHT

17

I, DANIEL BLAKE
(4 out of 5)

The famous proverb “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes” is honestly and realistically exemplified in a film about a 59 year-old carpenter who is forced to turn to welfare support, as a result of a workplace incident. This is one of those films that is so true to life, it’s as close to watching a documentary a feature film can get. A truly involving and utterly valuable Irish drama.

Full Review – I, DANIEL BLAKE

16

HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE
(4 out of 5)

Ricky Baker is a name you won’t be forgetting any time soon. Nor is Julian Dennison, the young actor playing Ricky, in a breakthrough performance. This clever and triumphant smash-hit Kiwi comedy proved a winner with critics and audiences alike earlier in the year. If you somehow missed it, get onto this “majestical” film pronto, bro. 

Full Review – HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE

15

ARRIVAL 
(4 out of 5)

The mostly tired and often repetitive alien-invasion genre experiences an invasion of originality and innovation in ARRIVAL. This suspenseful drama is about an expert linguist who attempts to communicate with extra-terrestrial forces that have landed several spacecraft throughout the world. Watch this superior film over the upcoming PASSENGERS and ten times before you attempt INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE. 

Full Review – ARRIVAL

14

EYE IN THE SKY 
(4 out of 5)

The opposite of escapism. That is what EYE IN THE SKY is, a gripping and strongly immersive motion picture about an operation to catch a group of terrorists in Kenya, before their next attack. But the team are about to be thrown their toughest conundrum yet when an unforeseen move takes place. EYE IN THE SKY gives the viewer a two-sided story that forces you to question what you would do in this scenario. A seriously compelling and thought-provoking dramatic thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Full Review – EYE IN THE SKY

13

SPOTLIGHT 
(4 out of 5)

This year’s Best Picture Oscar winner handles its controversial and sensitive subject matter (child molestation within the Catholic Church) with utmost professionalism and sincerity. As a production, SPOTLIGHT is unshowy, honest and never sensationalised. A very deserving winner at the 2016 Academy Awards.

Full review – SPOTLIGHT

12

TRUMBO 
(4 out of 5)

Bryan Cranston stars as Dalton Trumbo, a Hollywood screenplay writer during the 1940’s who is believed to be a communist by a US agency. Based on a true story, this highly engaging and exceedingly informative film is bolstered by its surprising humour and Cranston’s astonishing work in the lead role. 

Full Review – TRUMBO

11

MUSTANG
(4 out of 5)

A French, German & Turkish co-production which was nominated for best foreign language film at 2016’s Oscars is a most profound experience chronicling the lives of 5 orphaned, close-knit sisters. Growing up in ultra-conservative surroundings, their lives are changed forever after an innocent encounter. Based on the director’s real-life experiences, this foreign tale contains a message of utmost significance to anywhere in the world. This is the best foreign film of 2016.

Full review – MUSTANG


10

SING STREET
(4 out of 5)

Another rare gem of 2016. This small Irish comedy/drama with a big heart is viewed from the eyes of a teenage male who doesn’t know how to impress the girl he wants, so he starts his own rock band! Aside from its wonderfully endearing nature, this terrific movie features a stunning soundtrack as well as original music written and performed for the film. I guarantee you’ll have a great time watching SING STREET.

Full review – SING STREET

9

CHASING ASYLUM
(4.5 out of 5)

It is difficult to think of a more pertinent film to see right now than this. CHASING ASYLUM is a documentary that uses real footage secretly filmed to expose the conditions and treatment of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru. A film which acknowledges that the Australian Government has succeeded in stopping the boats and claiming lives have been saved by doing so, but at what cost? A must watch, especially for people who value truth and humanity.

Sorry, Moviedoc did not review this film ;(

8

THE NEON DEMON 
(4.5 out of 5)

When I first watched THE NEON DEMON, I absolutely loved the first two-thirds, then hated the last third. Since then, this sick, twisted and absolutely brilliant film has grown and grown on me. So much so, it is the number one film of 2016 that I cannot stop thinking or talking about. This is Nicolas Winding Refn’s (DRIVE, ONLY GOD FORGIVES) deliciously exaggerated and darkly comical take on a group of supermodels who will stop at nothing to achieve their dreams. You will either love or loathe what is the strangest film of 2016. But do be warned – Beauty doesn’t get uglier than this! Unforgettable and Unmissable for horror and arthouse cinema fans.

Full review – THE NEON DEMON

7

THE DANISH GIRL 
(4.5 out of 5)

THE DANISH GIRL is a deeply empathetic and stunningly rendered production about an artist couple living in 1920’s Copenhagen whose relationship together begins to evolve and be challenged when Einar (played beautifully by Eddie Redmayne) decides to become a woman. An open-minded audience will be rewarded with breathtaking acting, studious direction from Tom Hooper (THE KINGS SPEECH) and a beautifully told story of love, sexual identity and self-discovery. Has been one of this year’s best films all year. 

Full review – THE DANISH GIRL

6

EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT 
(4.5 out of 5)

The most authentic movie of the year is also the first film in over 30 years to be filmed on location in the Amazonian jungle and Amazon River. Filmed in beautiful black and white, EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT is the story of two Scientists searching for a rare flower known for its healing powers. For those of you who value a complete immersion into a foreign world, way of life and have a genuine appreciation towards culture in all its forms, one of the most memorable and grandest films of the year awaits.

Full review – EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT

5

ROOM 
(4.5 out of 5)

Based on the popular novel of the same name, this deceptively layered, subtly powerful and poignant drama is about a Mother (Oscar winner Brie Larson) and her young son (an astonishing Jacob Tremblay) who survive inside the tiny confines of what they refer to as “ROOM”. With their only visible access to the outside world coming via a skylight, curiosity and determination sees them hatch a dangerous plan to escape. The end result is a brilliantly bold, psychologically complex and a deeply rational film. 

Full review – ROOM

4

CAROL 
(4.5 out of 5)

CAROL, a wholly absorbing and completely transfixing film set in the 1950’s which focuses on an intimate relationship being formed between the titular character and a young aspiring photographer. The greatest romantic drama of 2016 is an outstanding production in every aspect (costume, set design, you name it) and is led by two truly immaculate acting performances from Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. 

Full review – CAROL

3

HACKSAW RIDGE
(4.5 out of 5)

There haven’t been many Australian-made films this year that have pushed a three-star rating, sadly. Well then, aren’t we lucky that good old trusty Mel Gibson brought this American story to our shores for production! Desmond T. Doss, a medic who served in the Battle of Okinawa during World War II, never used a weapon while on the front lines, saving many lives in the process. Quite simply, this is one of the greatest (anti) war films of the 21st Century. While you experience some of the most impacting scenes ever filmed on the battle grounds, Gibson’s superior handling of HACKSAW RIDGE and Andrew Garfield’s career-best performance ensure sight is never lost of why we’re even here. A stunning film.

Full review – HACKSAW RIDGE

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC
(4.5 out of 5)

Not a superhero film, but it is a super film. Taken from the personal experiences of writer/director Matt Ross, CAPTAIN FANTASTIC is about a Father who is raising his six children in the forest of the Pacific Northwest. This family live a very unorthodox and secluded life, so when the need to travel beyond arises, will they be ready for the confronting journey that lies ahead? Best described as an amalgamation of ROOM and the 2006 road movie LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, yet very much its own film. What truly stands-out about this comedy/drama is the humour which is extracted from the most unconventional of places and an extremely thought-provoking screenplay. A true highlight of 2016, don’t underestimate just how brilliant this movie is. It made second place for good reason 😉

Full review – CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

1

45 YEARS 
(4.5 out of 5)

Even I am surprised by my choice of number one ranking this year! Truth be told, no film came closer to receiving the perfect score in 2016 from me. And no film, as a whole, hit me harder than the story of an elderly couple, almost 45 years married to one another, who receive shattering news that threatens to change the rest of their lives. And maybe even everything before this day. There is a valuable life lesson to be learned for ears willing to listen. A subtle, yet powerful message from the older to the younger. The carefully considered writing, sophisticated handling of all proceedings and impeccable acting work from leads Charlotte Rampling (who was Oscar nominated earlier in the year) and Tom Courtenay catapult this extraordinary film to the top of my list

Full review – 45 YEARS

That was quite a read! Now, something short and sweet. Here are the worst movies of 2016!

Moviedoc’s Bottom 5 Movies of 2016

5

HIGH-RISE
(1.5 out of 5)

Life for residents in a tower block begins to run out of control. This dystopian dark comedy starring Tom Hiddleston certainly has appealing elements. But this highly obscure film remains a mystery to me above all else. It becomes too irritating and off-putting to continue caring about. See, I don’t like all weird movies!

Sorry, Moviedoc did not write a review of this film 😦

4

NOW YOU SEE ME 2 
(1.5 out of 5)

A magic film, without any magic. This sequel is a careless whisper of the intrigue and alluring mystery summoned from the previous outing. Do not bother.

Full review – NOW YOU SEE ME 2

3

BACKTRACK
(1.5 out of 5)

You have probably never heard of this misfiring Australian mystery drama/horror starring Sam Neill and Oscar-winner Adrian Brody, who plays a psychologist experiencing a few issues of his own. Good, let’s backtrack then and keep it that way!

Full review – BACKTRACK

2

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE
(1 out of 5)

20 years. That is how long it has been since the original INDEPENDENCE DAY premiered on our big screens. 20 years on, and this sequel doesn’t just fail to bring something new to the alien invasion genre, it just fails. Miserably. It only has the film below to thank for not being named the worst movie of 2016.

Full Review – INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE

1

BLAIR WITCH
(0.5 out of 5)

The most frightening aspect of BLAIR WITCH, is just how bad it actually is! Should only be shown to severely misbehaving children for disciplinary reasons by responsible adults. If you get through this once, as I somehow did, you’ll never want to see another minute of it again. 

Full review – BLAIR WITCH

While there have been countless acting performances of the highest quality, here are my top female and male performers of 2016

Actress of the Year
Alicia Vikander
(THE DANISH GIRL & THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS)

Actor of the Year
Bryan Cranston
(TRUMBO & THE INFILTRATOR)

And finally, to some additional bits and pieces. These films did not make my Top 30 or Bottom 5. 

Top 5 Most Underrated and/or Under the Radar Films

AMERICAN HONEY (4 out of 5)
ROSALIE BLUM (3.5 out of 5)
ANOMALISA (3.5 out of 5)
BRIDGET JONES’S BABY (3.5 out of 5)
THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS (3.5 out of 5)

Top 5 Most Overrated and/or Overly Hyped Films

SULLY (2.5 out of 5)
RED DOG: TRUE BLUE (2 out of 5)
THE LADY IN THE VAN (2 out of 5)
MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2 (2 out of 5)
THE BIG SHORT (2 out of 5)


Add These 5 Films To Your Watch List

A UNITED KINGDOM (3.5 out of 5)
WHERE TO INVADE NEXT 
(3.5 out of 5)
SWISS ARMY MAN 
(3.5 out of 5)
THE FENCER 
(3 out of 5)
NERVE 
(3 out of 5)

These are some films that deserve a mention and ought to be watched, depending on your taste

ALLIED (3.5 out of 5)
DEADPOOL (3.5 out of 5)
DOCTOR STRANGE (3.5 out of 5)
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (3.5 out of 5)
WAR DOGS (3.5 out of 5)
SON OF SAUL  (3.5 out of 5)
THE SHALLOWS (3 out of 5)
THE FOUNDER (3 out of 5)

Best Horror Film 
DON’T BREATHE 
(3.5 out of 5)

Best Prequel/Sequel
THE CONJURING 2 (3.5 out of 5)

Best Remake
THE JUNGLE BOOK (3.5 out of 5)

Highest Grossing Film – Worldwide
FINDING DORY ($1.027 Billion)

Highest Grossing Film – In Australia
FINDING DORY ($36.1 Million)

Compiled by Moviedoc
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NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

117 minutes, Mystery Drama/Thriller

This story is taken from the 1993 novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright, which didn’t become popular until its UK publication in 2010. As fashion designer and writer/director Tom Ford so beautifully illustrated in his 2009 debut feature A SINGLE MAN, creating a work of arresting and artistic visual beauty is evidently second nature to him and again so finely demonstrated in just his second feature film, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS. Amy Adams stars as Susan, an art gallery owner that receives a novel as a gift from her ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal), whom she has been long divorced from.  As she reads the graphic and violent book that he has written and dedicated to her, Susan begins to perceive the events as an indirect and personal threat. 

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS casts an irresistible and undeniably hypnotic stranglehold over its audience as its layered plot further develops stories that are separate yet somehow relevant to each other. Mystique and intrigue are summoned to the fullest extent as Tom Ford’s screenplay chronicles the opening storyline told in the present, plays out events in the book and takes us back to the days man and wife were once in love. Several elements of the movie are intended to puzzle to the same high degree they will spellbind the viewer. And certainly heightening this attractive production is both the sound design and the cinematography, along with several immaculate acting performances from a varied and appealing cast. The only facet of this Venice Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner that could (and in most cases will) soften the overall impact and impression of the film is the conclusion, which is bound to be either too elusive or unfulfilling.

3.5 out of 5 

Trailer
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

Viewer Discretion 
MA15+ – Strong Themes and Nudity 
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS also contains violence, menace, coarse language and the nudity is very graphic. 

Moviedoc wishes to thank Linda from Universal Pictures, Universal Pictures and The Backlot Studios for the invitation to the Preview Screening of NOCTURNAL ANIMALS. 

Review by Moviedoc 
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THE NEON DEMON

118 minutes, Drama/Horror

Welcome to the ugly side of beauty.
To a film you will either intensely dislike or undoubtedly love. 
A film that is director Nicolas Winding Refn’s second in a row to receive both booing and a standing ovation following its premier at the Cannes Film Festival. 
One guarantee can be made – see it, and you will never forget. 

Welcome to THE NEON DEMON, a provocative, unashamedly superficial and sickly twisted tale about a group of young women who will stop at nothing to achieve their dreams. Shot in chronological order with an ending improvised on set, THE NEON DEMON begins with 16 year-old Jesse (Elle Fanning), a naive and shy girl who moves to Los Angeles all on her own in an attempt to begin a modelling career. As she slowly gains work and fame in this ultra-competitive world, fellow competing models Gigi (Bella Heathcote) and Sarah (Australia’s Abbey Lee) find themselves becoming equally curious by and envious of Jesse and her natural beauty.

 

The Neon Demon Poster


Right from the opening frame, as Jesse takes her very first steps onto a catwalk filled with derange and danger, a couple of observations are instantly made. One, Jesse’s personality does not belong in this industry, though her appearance and adaptable style certainly do. Two, from a cinematic perspective, you are experiencing a masterpiece. Noted for his stunning use of colour, our colour-blind film director has produced a transfixing, hypnotic and edgy drama/horror that is visually stunning and sensationally scored. This work of high art doesn’t just possess good-looks though, making its inside count too.

The narrative works as a two-fold, with Jesse’s journey and her gradual transition being fascinating, yet ominous, to watch. Then there is the darkly humourous and often ridiculing treatment of the beauty industry which form a winning combo of wicked entertainment. Though THE NEON DEMON’S scripting won’t seduce as many viewers as it will from a sensory standing, the utterly brave and universally outstanding showcase of acting from Elle Fanning is indisputable. This is one of the standout performances of 2016. 

Therefore, it is somewhat of a shame that only two thirds of the film (roughly) has been scripted! Once the scripted section of the film has seemingly concluded, THE NEON DEMON loses a fair amount of its stranglehold so potently cast. The audience are whisked away towards a decidedly arty psychological horror finale that is seriously f***ed up! This extraordinary film tends to feel as though it’s deviating from its earlier originality in some aspects and it does leave you to guess some of its more abstract elements. While watching, you may feel left in limbo for too long. However, if you’ve come this far and loved what you’ve been experiencing the past couple of hours, I assure you of this – you may leave THE NEON DEMON behind as you exit the cinema, but THE NEON DEMON will be staying right with you. 

4.5 out of 5

THE NEON DEMON

Viewer Discretion
R18+ High Impact Sexual Themes
THE NEON DEMON contains disturbing violent content, bloody images, language, graphic nudity and a scene of aberrant sexuality. 

Moviedoc wishes to thank Sophie from Madman, Madman and Cinema NOVA for the invitation to the screening of THE NEON DEMON. 

Review by Moviedoc 
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